Maine Lakes Center to Open June 2011
Or, the Surprising Tale of New Docks
What started out as a plan to re-open public docks in the Village of Belgrade Lakes in Central Maine, has grown into a resource center to benefit all lakes and ponds in Maine. Over the past winter, discussions among community leaders, local conservationists and Colby College transformed the original dock project into plans for a $2.5 million conservation initiative to revitalize a village and help preserve water quality across the state.
The centerpiece of the campaign is a 3,500-square-foot resource center located on the stream in the heart of the village. Visitors to the site will see rain gardens, porous pavers, buffer plantings and other erosion-thwarting techniques on its grounds. Inside will be displays, a wet lab, offices for the collaborating conservation groups, a large public meeting hall with many displays and space for a variety of cultural and educational programs.
The Belgrade Lakes Association (BLA) brought on two other lead partners, the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance (BRCA) and Colby College. Colby’s top-ranked environmental studies program added scientific credibility and knowledgeable academics and their students into the fold. With the help of the Maine Congress of Lake Associations (Maine COLA), the founding partners aim to spread best conservation practices beyond central Maine.
As the elements came together, fundraising began in earnest. From its outset in 2009, to the official ground breaking on October 12, 2010, more than 700 individuals contributed to the campaign. With fundraising all but completed, MLRC partners are putting finishing touches on blueprints and planning the projects, programs, demonstrations, and entertainments that will make the Maine Lakes Resource Center a dynamic and vibrant asset for all who love Maine lakes.
Credit: Loren Wright, Tom Klingenstein, William Bayreuther